Friday, September 28, 2007

Reax to Ian Urquhart column today

Toronto Star columnist Ian Urquhart has been huffing and puffing against electoral reform for months, often claiming all of our democratic problems can be solved in Ontario with a little parliamentary reform at Queen's Park.

Of course, such a suggestion has always seemed willfully naive. As most political observers have long noticed, power and control have evolved so tightly in the leaders' offices at Queen's Park. Despite the good intentions of some opposition leaders, substantial parliamentary reform at the provincial legislature remains a distant dream.

Mixed Member Proportional won't solve all of our democratic problems, but it sure will present the opportunity for greater party cooperation. Politicians will have to work together for the good of the province. The new system will ensure that any legislation that passes into law be supported by parties that represent over 50% of the people.

But Urquhart today, in his column attacking the Citizens' Assembly's recommendation for change, takes a different tact, alleging that fringe parties will hold the balance of power under the new system. While such a scenario has been rare in other jurisdictions with Mixed Member Proportional, that doesn't stop Urquhart (and sadly many other opponents of change) from making the suggestion. He makes no mention of parliamentary reform, but wrongly claims that supporters of voting reform are merely motivated by a desire to prevent another Mike Harris-style government.

Check out these excellent rebuttals to Urquhart's arguments here and here.

Coming soon to this site, our Top Five Reasons MMP is Better For Voters...


Neale said...

After last night's display of rudeness by Marilyn Churney on the Agenda, I know no more that I did before. She just ran roughshod over everyone often leaving a confusing babble of voices. 90 ridings from 107. Kenora-Rainy River is a huge chunk of real estate (Hampton's riding) with its low population how can anyone there be served when there are so many remote isolated communities accessible only by plane?
Also, there is a worrisome hijacking of the Conservative Party by evangelic "Christians" who are anti-gay, anti-abortion etc. Could they hold a balance of power in any coalition?
We now have a minority government in Ottawa where no one can possibly coalesce unlike in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
I think that the idea has some merit, but with the 60%, 60% rules it likely won't pass.

Anonymous said...

The real pushers of the MMP agenda are the far left elite, think Linda McQuaig and her gang. This sucker's going down in flames.

Anonymous said...

anonymous, except for those Liberals listed here, as well as Conservatives like Hugh Segal, and all the other thousands of supporters of voting reform who are not far left. Segal is such a far left elite, yeah right...thanks for the drive by smear...

Matt Guerin said...

Neale, the redistribution of ridings will take place if MMP passes. We have yet to
Although any redistribution usually takes into account the historical need to ensure good representation for rural or remote areas. Ensuring northern representation doesn't drop has been a priority for this government (they kept 11 seats in the north under the current map, when it could've shrunk to 10 under the 2007 map.)

I'm not sure one can say evangelical Christians have taken over the Conservative Party in Ontario (unless one wants to be overly partisan perhaps.) The Family Coalition Party in Ontario has never won more than 3% of the vote, which would be the threshold under MMP for representation. That threshold would be difficult to continually meet for tiny parties with little broad appeal.

Other countries with MMP have no history of fringe parties forming coalitions with larger parties. Normally larger parties wish to join up with other more mainstream parties as agreement on issues is more feasible. I think in Ontario it would be highly unpopular with most voters for a winning party to team up with a radical fringe element, should any happen to get elected (which I highly doubt.)